Seeing as I was able to attend E3 this year, I of course had time to try out many of the most awaited games coming this year. Playstation All Stars was one of those games. Like most everyone else when the game was announced I pegged it as nothing more than a Super Smash Bros clone, and to an extent thats not really wrong. But you know what? I dont really care. I love Smash Bros. and I certainly am not going to say no to more of that kind of game play, especially when its with as endearing of characters as Sony has.
That being said, yes All Stars is a lot like Smash Bros. but its also fairly different at the same time. The basic game play is indeed the same, you have four player versus matches on a 2-D sort of battlefield. Anyone who has played Smash should feel right at home with All Stars. You have three basic attacks mapped to the square, triangle, and circle buttons. Light, medium, and heavy respectively. Like Smash, you have a basic attack and then if you hit a direction you get a different attack with each button and each direction.
Other things mimic Smash even more, jumping and double jumping on the x button. The shoulder buttons all have uses as well. Block and taunt on L1 and L2, and item pick up on R1, and then here’s the difference from Smash Bros., L2 is your super attack. Whereas Smash Bros requires you to knock characters off of the battlefield to get a kill, All-Stars makes you use super moves in order to get kills and score points. In fact, this is literally the only way you can get points.
Each character has a super move gauge next to their names with three levels in it. These three levels correspond in power and ease of use as well. Like I said this is the only way you can score point in the game, making All Stars dynamically different from Smash. The overall feel of the game is quite different as well. All of the characters and general game play feels a lot floatier and less precise than Smash, of course this could also be attributed to the fact that this is a game still in progress. It isnt bad really, it doesnt make the game any less fun to play, its just different.
Now to move on to the most important thing, characters. Playstation All Stars already has an impressive roster with some great characters, and since I played 6 matches I got to try out the majority of the characters. The cast includes; Kratos, Parappa the Rapper, Fat Princess, Sweet Tooth, Sly Cooper, Colonel Radec, and the two characters announced at E3, Nathan Drake and the Big Daddy.
Each of these characters feels vastly different and each has their own perks and drawbacks. For example, Kratos and the Big Daddy are very strong close quarter brawlers, whereas Sly Cooper is a hit and run speedy character, and Colonel Radec focuses almost entirely on ranged attacks. The characters all feel pretty accessible, but there is definitely some balancing that needs to be done before release. Kratos is ridiculously powerful as anyone might expect, but Nathan Drake feels incredibly hard to use and definitely needs to be beefed up a bit.
In total I tried out Kratos, Colonel Radec, Big Daddy, Nathan Drake, Parappa the Rapper, and Sly Cooper. Nathan Drake and the Big Daddy both were a little difficult to use, but as they were just announced and were probably just made thats not entirely surprising. My favorites were definitely Colonel Radec and Sly Cooper. I enjoyed Radecs ranged approach and had fun keeping my distance from everyone else and picking them off with ranged rifle attacks and explosives. Sly Cooper was an interesting approach as well, he had very quick attacks and his block button even allowed him to dissapear off of the stage. Sly Coopers style allowed him to dart in and out of battle, landing quick attacks on people and trying to stay out of danger.
One of the things that I found the most interesting about All Stars were the stages that you played on. I absolutely loved the combinements of different Sony worlds that the stages gave you. In one Hades from God of War loomed in the background slammin his chains on the stage every once in a while, during all this an army of Patapons are taking on Hades trying to defeat him. In another you played on a Little Big Planet level with items and platforms popping up every once in a while, when suddenly the stage rushes away to reveal the host from Buzz! appears and asks you questions. The characters have to then land on the area with the correct answer to some Sony trivia, otherwise they will be hit with pies.
These interactive levels with colliding Sony worlds, really make battles fun and gives the game a life that Smash Bros. doesnt even have. Out of all the features in All Stars the stages were what got me most excited. All Stars also looks graphically impressive, the characters come to life as you would expect the stages are fantastic looking, and the effects of the attacks all match their characters and are fun to look at. Everything about All Stars just looks fun, its Smash Bros with a twist using Sony characters, and if you ask me thats a great thing.
One thing that really pumps up my excitement for the game is the fact that it will appear on the Vita as well as the PS3 as virtually the same experience is what it looks like so far. One of the main things I’ve always wanted is a Smash Bros. game to play on the go, and now that All Stars is coming I cant wait to finally have that.
In all, I was really impressed during my time with Playstation All Stars. Being a huge Smash Bros. fan I was really excited to see how it would turn out, and I enjoyed it so much that I felt the need to go back to the Sony booth and play some more rounds. All Stars surprisingly became one of my top games of the show, and its definitely one that I personally plan on keeping a watch on, even if its formula isnt very original.
Of course much of the games success will most likely depend on the future characters and features that they announce. Stay tuned for more information on Playstation All Stars Battle Royal in the future. In the meantime check out the E3 trailer below.